I recently opened a store on Etsy and even more recently made my first sale! Getting to here took some work and a few mistakes along the way, so I thought I would share what I wish I had known before I sat down to start the process of filling in all the boxes on the Etsy site. It was a bit more complicated than I expected, and I had to stop several times to go get things, or even create them, before I could go any further. So before you do the same, get these 10 things at the ready and you’ll be selling before you know it!
Choose a Shop Name – this sounds simple enough but actually takes a bit of thought. First of all for the best conversion of traffic to orders, and other internet Search Engine Optimisation goodness, you need to choose an Etsy Shop name that matches your URL. If you don’t have a URL yet find yourself a domain provider and buy the one you want right now. They aren’t expensive and its worth doing to save yourself a lot of heartache if you can’t get it later.
Your Etsy Shop name needs to reflect your brand and be memorable, all in 20 characters or less. It also can’t include spaces or special characters as it will be used as part of the URL for your shop. Try using some well placed capital letters to make it easier to read.
Keep in mind that if you change your shop name later, you can’t ever have the old one back, and neither can anyone else, so be very careful if you decide to cancel a store before opening it properly like I did, that name is gone forever!
There are lots of excellent resources that Google will unearth for you about choosing an epic Etsy Shop name. Try this one for a start, I found it really helpful.
Create a Shop Title – this is like a by line for your store, it describes in a 55 characters or less what your shop is all about and what you sell. These precious 55 characters are searchable by Google and other tools and so will also help with Search Engine Optimisation if you are into that. I’ve used that SEO term twice now because to some it is really important, if you want to know more read this.
To complete your Shop Title and the store banner in Etsy you will also need a cover image. 760x100px is the best size to make sure your Customers can see your store properly on their phones, which is where more than 60% of Etsy buyers do their shopping! You will also need a shop icon, usually your brand image is best, that is 500x500px. If all of this is mumbo jumbo find a graphic designer who can help. My favourite is Liesl Ross Graphic Designer, you can find her here on Facebook. Tell her I sent you!
A Profile Picture of your very own smiling face. No, you can’t use your cat. Your Customers want to see who they are buying from, and the personal element of Etsy is very important. It is also in the Etsy Shop policies, so no cheating. The image needs to be a .JPG, .GIF or .PNG, at least 400x400px and no larger than 10mb.
A photo of your work space – at least one, or as many as five. There is also a place to load a video if you are really inspired. These photos get loaded to your store’s About page. You will also need a catchy, ‘tell all’ paragraph ot two that tells your Customers three things: 1: Why you are selling, how you got started creating and how you got to being an Etsy shop owner. 2: What you create and sell and 3: How your lovely goodies ‘solve a problem’ for your Customers. By that I mean tell them what your product does for your Customer and why they want it. Check out my carefully crafted About paragraph here for an example.
Shipping Policies – these are the general shipping policies for your store and while Etsy provides default policies for most, you will need to be prepared to enter relevant details for: 1. Shipping – including processing times and Customs/Taxes. I niftily side stepped the processing times question by simply stating ‘The time I need to prepare an order for shipping varies. For details, see individual items’. 2. Payment Options – including PayPal and Credit Card preferences and 3. Returns & Exchanges – if you accept them and how they will work.
Etsy Billing – you will need to decide how you will pay Etsy at the end of each month, and have those bank or Credit Card details at hand. You will also need the details of the bank account your sales revenue is to be deposited into.
Item Details – for each item you are planning to sell you will need: 1. An Item Description giving details of what the Customer will receive, include dimensions, colour options, and any other details needed to make it very clear what is, and isn’t included. 2. Variations are a good way to save on the number, and hence cost, of listings. Consider including size, colour, materials and any other relevant variations within the one listing. Etsy will then provide drop down lists Customers can use to choose their desired variations within each listing. 3. Turnaround times need to be provided for each item. How many working days will it take you to dispatch the order? Make it clear these times start after payment is received, as it can take several days for payments to be processed by Etsy. 4. Pricing for each item needs to consider the cost of raw materials, your time, a profit margin and the price of competitor items on Etsy. Use each of these to arrive at a reasonable price for each item you are listing. 5. Photos cannot be underestimated and you will need at least one, or as many as five, for each item. There are thousands of articles on the internet about how to take good product photos, like this one.
Shipping – take the time to sort out how you are going to mail each item you are planning to list. Find samples of the mailing boxes and packaging you plan to use, actually pack each item, and take them to the post office to be weighed and costed. If you plan to offer both domestic and international shipping get prices for both, including pricing for several different international destinations so you can provide postage for the USA, Europe and Middle East, for example. I even mailed an item to a friend to make sure it would arrive unscathed to make sure my packing was sufficient. It is so easy to lose all your profit on an item in postage if you underestimate shipping, or worse, have to send it twice due to breakage.
Search Terms – Etsy allow you to apply 13 tags to each item to describe it. These tags are the gateway to getting your item discovered. Etsy matches tags with shoppers’ searches to find relevant results and you want your items to be returned in search results as that is what will bring you sales. Use all 13. If you can’t think of 13 ask friends and family to describe your items and include what they come up with. Read more here.
Go Shopping! Spend some time on Etsy as a Customer and shop for the items you are planning to list. Check out what your competitors are selling, how they are photographed, what search terms work best and what tags they have applied. I found it really helpful to read item descriptions for similar products to mine to help with wording. Check what other local sellers are charging for postage for similar items. Be critical, what can you do better? What can you do differently with your listings to stand out?
Above all remember to be authentically you, no one else is selling that.